Those who are close to me know that I have a certain fondness for the dried fruits of the plum tree, despite their unfortunate associations with old people and their bowels. I even adore stewed prunes, which is right up near the top of least appealing food names. They are excellent with cream, however, and taste dark and mysterious and comforting all at once. I would love to find a perfume that smelled just like a plump, fresh prune. And so on.
This love leads to dialogues such as the following, which took place on a walk home from the grocery store:
ME: Prunes are the perfect fruit! It is the queen of fruits! A prune is like a cake. It is so delicious. Why do people not appreciate the prune? They will eat a dried apricot! They will eat a raisin. But a dried plum is superior to both! It is so damp and rich a fruit! A prune... is like a cake.
S: Are you a spokesperson for BIG PRUNE?
ME: No. But let me tell you more about prunes. Have you tried today's modern prune?
I was recently thrilled to learn that our friend R. is also a prune fan. (She has heard the GOOD NEWS about prunes!) In her and my joint honor, therefore, I dug around in some cookbooks for ideas and came up with this, the Prune is Like a Cake Cake. I am pleased with the results, though next time I think I should use even more prunes, more like a cup and a half.
THE PRUNE IS LIKE A CAKE
1 cup fine moist prunes, cut into quarters or sixths
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 c port
6 T butter
1/3 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c plus 2 T flour*
Big fat pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 oz good dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375. Butter 4 to 6 ramekins.
Put cut prunes in a bowl with the baking soda. Pour the port over them and mix.
Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and light. Add the egg and continue beating until well blended. Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add half the flour and all of the salt. Mix until no more dry flour shows and then add the contents of the prune bowl, including the liquid. When that is incorporated, add the rest of the flour and again mix until blended. Stir in the chocolate.
Divide the batter among the ramekins and smooth the tops. Bake until the top is firm (not hard) and slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or just plain heavy cream. A little Grand Marnier or the like in the cream, whipped or otherwise, is nice.
*I have a big jar of half all-purpose, half whole-wheat flour on my counter, and so that's what I used.